In Country Not Seen in Daylight

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Oct 2019


Often, firefighters arrive on a fire after dark. This is recognized as Watchout Situation #2. Before safely fighting fire, in country not seen in daylight, firefighters must be able to answer the following questions:

  • Can the resources you are replacing give you a thorough briefing? Identify whom you might get information from. Can you meet up with the departing overhead/resource leaders?
  • Can you observe the area/use scouts? List ways you could observe the area you need to work.
  • Have escape routes and safety zones been thoroughly scouted and marked for night use? Talk about what constitutes an escape route and a safety zone; who would identify them; and in what ways might they be marked.
  • Have potential dangers been located; can they be mitigated? What are the dangers associated with Watchout Situation #2? How can they be worked around?
  • Reduce the risks by:
    • Posting lookouts.
    • Checking communications.
    • Retreat if you have doubts about your escape routes or safety zones, or the situation becomes too complex. Give examples of arriving on a fire after dark and what was done to allow you to fight fire safely in country not seen in daylight.
    • Identifying prominent geographic features.


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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